Trading Places

President Obama is taking heat for agreeing to exchange Sgt. Bergdahl, an Afghanistan War POW held by the Taliban, for five high-ranking Talibs held as “detainees” at Guantanamo. Conservatives say he negotiated with terrorists (though the Taliban were the government of Afghanistan before being removed by a US invasion). More ridiculously, they worry that these five individuals might return to attack the U.S. – as if five people would make a difference in a war involving many thousands of fighters. I thought seeing this from the Afghan point of view would expose these lines of thinking for what they are.

6 thoughts on “Trading Places

  1. «O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!»

    Pity that we seem to be far more interested in the lice infesting others (cf Mtathew 7:1-5) than our own critters….

    Henri

  2. Great cartoon, Ted. Very conversant with the mimetic theories of Rene Girard. Revelatory of a deeper truth about humanity.

    Wars bring out the worst in people, behavior that could not be approved of by a democracy in peacetime. After bashing against each other for years, how could the sides not begin to resemble each other even in their speculative fears.

  3. > they worry that these five individuals might return to attack the U.S

    No … really? Shoulda thought of that before we started throwing random individuals into Gitmo. There’s no way we can make that better – we’ve got exactly two choices: release ’em all immediately; or make it even worse. Seems like a slam dunk to me.

    I recently read that O’bummer wants to ‘help’ Iraq some more. Need I say it? “With friends like these…”

  4. Yes those 5 released have already attacked and invaded Iraq. U bet they are dangerous, what is next? Eric Cantor? yes he was just released too, see what I mean cose i sure don’t.

  5. I submit that the five released prisoners are probably the most dangerous five people ever released from a jail in the past 30 years.

    Gitmo is now a synonym for every Orwellian and obscene thing a government can do: secret detention, torture, isolation from friends and families, detention without charge, etc.

    Even if those five men say not one word about what happened to them, others will invent details and those details will be believed. Whereas the truth might have been pretty bad, the rumors and the murmurs will be even worse. It will be a giant version of someone getting caught having sex with a sheep but not being charged. The formal charge isn’t the big thing. That everyone knows you were fooling around with a sheep is the big thing.

    Obama chose to be the same sort of thug that Bush was. And when you make that choice, you don’t get to do it soft style. You have to be brutal and terrible every day, not just some or most of them. You stick someone in prison for 11 years without a trial? You can’t ever let them out. The next president just might have a chance to resolve Gitmo. But that would have to be a “three seconds after the Inauguration” sort of thing. No committees to consider the discussion of the notion of the examination of the reliability of the evidence against the Gitmo detainees. The Next Prez would have to finish the Oath, turn to the mike, and say something like, “Okay, first bits of business. ALL Gitmo detainees are to be given due process immediately. Trials are to commence within 30 days. Any trial not begun in 30 days will trigger an automatic presidential pardon. The trials will be televised. Let’s ALL see what everyone in power was so desperate to cover up.”

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